policies to create fake accounts, and it may invade people’s right to privacy. I believe that only the government should be allowed to create fraudulent social networking accounts and only to catch criminals.
Although creating fraudulent accounts is against Facebook’s rule of “Computer abuse and Fraud act,” law authorities often create fake accounts and are able to catch many criminals. Many officers believe that social media is a good tool because “you are able to see the criminal in his comfortable stage,” and you can see the hobbies, travel information, friends, family, and places that the criminal often goes (Business Insider). After attempting to find a criminal for over a month, an officer said that he was able to track a criminal down with a fictitious Facebook account because the criminal was continuously sharing his location. This is another example of how social networking is a shockingly easy way to find criminals. There are many other example such as a British robber who stole $130,000 and then posted pictures of his trip returning to the UK, and a teen bragging about his recent hit and run (Digital Trends). From 2007 to 2010, London Police use of Facebook grew 540% after realizing what a great crime fighting tool it was. In the US, 80% of law officials say they have used social media to solve or stop crimes (Business Insider). Criminals are often ignorant as to what they put on their social networking accounts. Federal Judge William Martini ruled that it is not an unreasonable search to gain information on a Facebook account of a suspect because the suspect either accepted the friend request, which was sent by the government’s fake account, or their information was already open for the public to see (CNN). Therefore the evidence was gained consensually. In addition, Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, and Google+ have seen the number of warrants skyrocket which means that law authorities are finding social media increasingly effective in their attempts at solving crimes (Richmond Journal of Law & Technology).
One of the most successful uses for social media and online chatting is entrapping child sex offenders. Often, in order to catch a child sex offender, law authorities will make a fake account and pretend be a young child, usually a pre-teen. After the suspect child sex offender and the investigator have chatted, the investigator will agree to have sex at a location. While law authorities are waiting, the sex offender often walks right into the place where he thought he was about to have sex. At this moment the police are able to arrest the criminal. An example of this elaborate scheme is the case Wisconsin v. Kenney in 2002 (Digital Evidence and Computer Crime pg. 581). This case started in 1999 when a special agent from the Wisconsin Department of Justice, Erik Szatkowski, posed as a 13 year old boy from Milwaukee, named Alex. Special agent Szatkowski logged onto an America Online chat room and begin chatting with Kenney, the child sex offender. The two engaged in a conversation discussing erotic wrestling. The sex offender was lured into a restaurant where the two sides planned to meet, and much to Kenney’s surprise, instead of a young boy ready to wrestle, it was law authorities ready to arrest the child sex offender. I think that this is one of the best uses because we are protecting the young who are many times helpless to an adult.
The downside of police using fake Facebook accounts is that they have been known to go too far and misuse their power. An example of this is Sondra Arquiett. Arquiett was arrested and her phone was taken from her by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). She was arrested because law authorities discovered that she was associated with a gang that was selling cocaine. After her phone was seized, a Drug Enforcement Agent, Timothy Sinnigen, went onto Arquiett's phone and started taking all the pictures Arquette had on her phone without her consent. From there, DEA agent Sinnigen created a fake Facebook account in Arquiett's name to try to communicate with friends of Arquiette, who were suspected of selling cocaine. Sinnigen also posted pictures of Arquiett such as suggestive photos, and pictures of her family. This is where I believe the DEA agent crossed the line. Arquiett only found out after one of her friends asked her what she was doing on her Facebook account. Arquiett sued Timothy Sinnigen. The DEA tried to justify that Arquiett gave her consent to use the photos on her phone after her phone was seized during her arrest. This is how law authorities can misuse their power to create fictitious social networking accounts and invade the privacy of someone.
Even though we feel like our personal bubble is being pushed, the ends justify the means when the government can arrest criminals. The government ignoring a safe and trusted environment should be overlooked because they are taking sex offenders, robbers, and gang members off the streets, which improves our society as a whole.
My experience as a blogger was fun and enjoyable. I often found myself checking to see how many views I got and looking to see if I got any new comments. It was also really interesting to see the posts of my peers. What I found the most intriguing about being a blogger was I got to put my ideas online for the world to see. I also enjoyed discussing various topics with my commenters and seeing that many people agree with my point, which was that the government should be allowed to create fraudulent social networking accounts in order to catch criminals. My point relates to digital citizenship because it deals with times when criminals were not responsible on their social networking accounts, and the result was that they were arrested. It was nice to see people agree with me, it was also exciting to see people disagree so then I could comment back with a new point to backup my point. An idea that conflicted with mine, which came up multiple times, was that law authorities should have to use a warrant to create a fake social networking account. Although this did not change my mind on the topic, these comments persuaded me to do more research about warrants in the Social Networking world. Through my research, I found that many times law officials do not need warrants because they would not take away the criminals fourth amendment rights. I was happy to answer this question because I felt as if I did not do much to explain this problem in my blog. Overall, the blogging experience was really fun and I’m glad I was able to have this experience.